Summer is winding down, and that means families will try to squeeze as much fun as we can into these precious few weeks before the school year starts again. Heading out to a fair or festival should be a fun way to get in some family time. But parents who’ve experienced more tantrums than tilt-a-whirls know it’s important to be prepared.
I present to you the Minivan Commuter’s list of Festival Dos and Don’ts:
DO Map It Out
So, you’re standing in line for the ferris wheel, and suddenly one of the kids is doing the potty dance. This is not the time to be looking around for a map. They’re not only handy during bathroom emergencies, taking a look at a map can save you and your kids precious steps throughout the day. You’ll spend less time wandering and have more time for food, rides and shows!
DON’T Get Burned
Sunscreen is a must for any outdoor summer event. What you may not know is that you should apply it a half-hour before you’re exposed to the sun to allow the ingredients to fully bind to the skin. You should reapply every two hours or more often if you get wet or sweat a lot.
DO Seek Out Free Fun
So many fairs and festivals have free areas to play and explore. If the fair has a website, check it out before your trip. You can also ask the ticket taker when you arrive. If all else fails, look for other moms and dads and ask them if they know where there’s some free fun.
DO Eat At Home
I know I don’t have to remind you to feed your kids, but you may be tempted to go to a fair or festival hungry. You can save some cash (and some calories) by eating before you leave. If and when you do get a snack, get something the whole family can share. That way, you can sample several things rather than committing to one food.
DON’T Forget To Hydrate
Water, water, water! Most places will let you bring in water bottles for the whole family. Don’t forget to use them! A lot of kids won’t take the initiative on their own, so make sure you remind them throughout the day.
DO Establish Ground Rules
If the rides take tickets, buy a set number of tickets and let the kids know you will not be buying any more. You should also set rules for what snacks you will buy and what time you want to leave. By setting expectations up front, you’ll cut down on the whining, begging and pleading that can come with a trip to the fair.
DON’T Give In
Just don’t do it!!
DO Have Fun!
Let’s face it – if it’s hot outside, if the kids have to walk instead of being carried, if the lines are long, there will be whining. Just do your best to relax and take it all in stride. You won’t remember the frustration; you’ll remember the joy of spending time together as a family.